Building Healthy Relationships
The development of healthy relationships is of concern to everyone. Healthy relationships allow individuality, bring out the best in both people, and invite personal growth.
Becoming close to someone involves making yourself vulnerable. When you become close to someone, you assume the risks that sharing joy, sorrow, need, desire, affection, and excitement bring. Common fears often interfere with becoming close to someone. You may be afraid to be known as you really are. You may fear pain and disappointment. The media tries to convince us that we should be 100% happy all the time. Hurt, pain, disappointment, and loneliness are not comfortable feelings, but they are part of human experience. Without the risk of experiencing them, you can never experience loving and being loved. You may fear losing your freedom. You may weigh the risk of giving up something in order to care about someone else, and worry that the other person will end up taking everything you care about. You may also wonder if you can be both close to someone and independent at the same time. You may fear asking too much of someone else. However, if you ask nothing, you deny the other person the joy of giving to you. You may the moral judgment of your friends, family, minister, or the law. You may fear inappropriateness. For example, some men may feel that showing love and affection is improper because it shows weakness rather than courage.
Rewards for Conquering the Fear of Closeness
If you learn to communicate effectively with others, are willing to risk sharing your own feelings, and respect others’ feelings, then many rewards await you. First of all, the relationship itself is its own reward. If you are close to someone, then you can need him or her and he or she can need you. Next, when you feel discouraged or upset, she or he is there to comfort you, and you can do the same for her or him. Further, healthy relationships allow you to acquire faith in yourself, faith in others, and an ability to be faithful to others. They enable you to live fully in the present and to find meaning and purpose for your own existence. Finally healthy relationships allow you become more sensitive to yourself and to choose how, when, and where to share your feelings.
Online Resources About Problem Relationships
- Dealing with a Breakup will help you support yourself through the painful process of ending a relationship.
- All relationships, even healthy ones, involve conflict at some point. The article Fair Fighting: The Art of Managing Differences in Intimate Relationships from the University of Florida’s Counseling and Wellness Center offers strategies for resolving conflicts with a partner.
- The University of Texas at Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center’s online brochure on dating and relationship violence will inform you and educate you about how to avoid danger.
- Building a healthy relationship from the start is an online pamphlet that discussed strategies for staring a relationship on the right foot.